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Another casualty - 640 on practice, 520 on test day!

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Another casualty - 640 on practice, 520 on test day! [#permalink] New post 18 Nov 2010, 16:27
Hello everyone,

I joined this group a few days ago after a disappointing GMAT test score, 520. The 520 (Q38 V23) was incredibly disappointing for me, because I paid about $1,400 for a prep course (arguable if it was/wasn’t worth it), studied for months, and constantly scored in the 620-40 range (usual breakdown of Q42-44 V38-42); there were a few rare outlier verbal scores in the 85-90% tier, which I cannot explain.

I am certainly going to retake the test with the hopes of scoring in the 640 + range, and your assistance and advice would be much appreciated. Below are a some relevant details and questions:

- The GMAT has been on my mind in some for over 8 months, but I studied seriously, meaning every day for at least 2 hours, for the last 6 weeks or so.
- My emphasis was on the quant section because I was a social science major in college and haven’t taken math in a while; unfortunately, I think this was a mistake. I should have emphasized verbal; SC and RC problems are both quit difficult for me, but I am confident I can improve my quant with more effort.
- I didn’t use an error log. Yikes.
- I took a practice test at least once a week for 5 weeks, and two time per week for the last three weeks.
- On the real GMAT test, I rushed through the last 6 questions (at least) due to poor time management; I skimmed the question stem and quickly picked an answer without using a process of any sort. This was none-issue during practice tests.

My questions to the group:
- Should I retake the test now (within 6 weeks) or give it more time so I can build a more solid verbal foundation? BTW, I am in no rush to start B school right away; I can be patient if it’ll help.
- Should I fear “burning out” if I continue studying with no break?
- My prep course offered to let me retake the course at no cost, would it be best to wait until than (a month from now) to start again?
- Any recommendations on how to improve my SC and RC skills, specifically which books to use, and how to best use an error log?
- Also, any thoughts on why my actual GMAT was so far off from my practice tests?
Thank you for reading my note, and for the creators of this user group. I look forward to your valuable insight.

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Status: Freakin' out ain't an option!
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Re: Another casualty - 640 on practice, 520 on test day! [#permalink] New post 18 Nov 2010, 23:28
Here are my thoughts on your questions
1. If you're not in a hurry to apply to a business school, then don't rush. That fact that you have got a 520 maybe an indicator of the fact that you really need to improve a lot,that you may be not be as fundamentally good as you may have perceived yourself to be or even if you'd have mastered the concept ,you may not have developed the higher application skills required to ace the exam.

2. Instead of emphasizing on one or the other section, I'd rather give equal emphasis on both the section. The idea is to become better at what you're weak at and become the best in what you're strong at!

3. Yes, you'll burn out if you continue studying at this point of time. After studying for a couple of months for any exam, you'll realize that one tends to become a little sick and bored with it. You should take out some break from studying, calm yourself down, motivate yourself together(and there's no dearth of motivational stories here on the forum), dream a lot( read about schools you want to go to,picturize yourself there) and you'll realize that in 3-4 weeks, you'll be all charged up to catch the bull by horns.

4. Maintaining an error log is a must for SC. You shouldn't just merely go on for practicing n number of questions and satisfy yourself by that, rather you've to "chew" each question properly . Regarding the books, you may want to see what others here who have aced the exam use and buy those books.

5. I cannot really say why your actual GMAT score was much lower than what you were getting in the practice tests. There are a variety of reasons for that and you are probably the best person to gauge why couldn't you perform well . I have an idea. Why don't you introspect and write in this thread the reasons for your debacle ?

My 760 debrief

Last edited by rishiraj on 19 Nov 2010, 02:45, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Another casualty - 640 on practice, 520 on test day! [#permalink] New post 18 Nov 2010, 23:59
welcome on board!

I joined the club when I scored about the same score. so you are on a right path now joining our 100k members community.

Please see this threads, they will help you to orient in your GMAT jorney:
Study plan: gmat-study-plan-for-gmat-novices-start-your-gmat-journey-80727.html?highlight=ml301
you will find there all you need about the GMAT study plan and retake strategy and error log.

Best books(review): best-gmat-books-77703.html
All practice tests: all-gmat-cat-practice-tests-links-prices-reviews-77460.html?highlight=ml502 One of the most realiable tests is GMATprep - download it from

Gmatclub tests: hardest quantative problems for 48+ score

On-line courses from different companies: gmat-prep-course-reviews-discount-codes-78451.html

don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. ;)

btw courses of what company did you take?!
I am wondering though.

Audaces fortuna juvat!

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Re: Another casualty - 640 on practice, 520 on test day! [#permalink] New post 20 Nov 2010, 16:30
to me, it sounds as if you had test day anxiety. This may sound like sabotage to some people but try and drink a couple of beers before the test next time. Don't get drunk, just have a beer or two which will relax you. also, definitely retake, if your score is well below your average you will most likely experience a "big jump" on the second or third attempt provided your test scores accurately reflect your abilities.
Re: Another casualty - 640 on practice, 520 on test day!   [#permalink] 20 Nov 2010, 16:30
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Another casualty - 640 on practice, 520 on test day!

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